Today was my final day in Madrid. It got off to a late start, given how crazy yesterday was, which was a good thing – because I was able to sleep in and get some rest. We had brunch and headed off to spend the day in Madrid. First off was the Royal Palace of Madrid, where we did a tour. It was quite stunning and housed the royal families in Spain for a very long time. They’ve opened it up to the public, but it’s maintained very well. It’s massive. We decided to head to the Plaza Mayor after that, which is just a big square in the middle of Madrid. Prior to that though, we passed through the Mercado de San Miguel – which is a market selling local cuisine items, including lots of quesos (cheese) and alcohol We just bought ice-cream. Which was yum.
Walking through the Plaza Mayor, we got a few photographs, and then went to the Puerta de Sol – another historic sight, after which we moved off down the Sol to La Osa y el Madroña (which is a statue of a bear and a tree – which is the Madrid municipality symbol as well). It was rather pretty.
After finishing all this, we realized how high temperatures were soaring (around 38-39) so we got into the car and drove to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (the Real Madrid stadium) and then to Wanda Metropolitano (the Atletico Madrid stadium). I decided which team to sign for, and then we went to buy groceries and have dinner at an Asian restaurant, Ni Hao. It rained in the evening, which was uncharacteristic and unexpected!
I’ll be very honest with you. Madrid is a city of two halves, and it’s very visible in the architecture and layout of the entire city. The football club history in the city clearly reflects that – with Atleti starting up through the dissidents from Real, and formed by Basque students living in Madrid.
I’m heading back to Geneva tomorrow morning. A lot has to be said here about how much care and affection has been showered on me in the last two days by everyone I’ve interacted with, and I will miss them dearly over the course of the next 3 weeks I’m spending in Europe.